2016 W. NCAA Picks: Stanford Looks to Defend 400 Medley Relay Title



Just weeks ago at the Pac-12 Championships, Stanford’s Ally HoweSarah Haase, Janet Hu, and Lia Neal broke the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Record in the 400 medley relay with a 3:26.25. The previous record had been set by Stanford at the 2015 NCAA Championships. The Cardinal is clearly the team to beat at this year’s NCAA Championships.

Up to challenge Stanford for the title in this event will be Virginia and Louisville, who enter as the 2nd and 3rd seeds with times of 3:28.25 and 3:28.32, respectively. Virginia was 2nd by .01 in a close race with Stanford last season at NCAAs, and will look to avenge the narrow loss at this year’s meet. They’ll have 2 members of last year’s relay, Courtney Bartholomew, Ellen Thomas, and Laura Simon, returning this year.

Louisville will likely get a huge boost from Kelsi Worrell, the first and only woman so far to crack 50 seconds in the 100 fly. They’ve also gotten the 3rd best 100 breaststroke in the NCAA this season out of Andee Cottrell.

The Cal Golden Bears and Texas A&M Aggies are also in position to challenge for a top spot. Both teams have already been under 3:30 this season. Cal heads into the meet as 4th seed with a 3:29.10, just ahead of the Aggies, who sit 5th with a 3:29.86.

The Golden Bears put together a strong medley relay at Pac-12s, but they’ll have to get more out of their breaststroke leg if they want to be title contenders in this race. Aside from that, they’re dangerous on the back, fly, and free legs. They’ve got 2 sub-51 backstrokers in Amy Bilquist and Rachel Bootsma, and Farida Osman has been a huge asset as their anchor.

Texas A&M has had a few standout swims of their own this season that could help propel them to a top spot in this relay. Beryl Gastaldello has the 4th fastest 100 free this year with a 47-low, and Sarah Gibson swam under 51 in the 100 fly at SECs.

Top 8 Predictions:

Place Team Seed Time
1 Stanford 3:26.25
2 Virginia 3:28.25
3 Louisville 3:28.32
4 Cal 3:29.10
5 Texas A&M 3:29.86
6 USC 3:30.29
7 Indiana 3:30.17
8 NC State 3:30.53

Darkhorse: Like Cal, Georgia has put together a strong medley relay this season, but will need to improve on their breaststroke leg. They swam a 3:30.83 to get 2nd at SECs. If they want to be a factor in the championship final of this race at NCAAs, they’ll need to be faster than their 1:00.42 breast split from that meet.

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4 years ago

Is there gonna be a Pick ‘Em contest for NCAAs this year?

4 years ago

Cal should use Kathleen Baker for the breaststroke. I believe her individual is 59.3, so she could split at least 58.8, if not faster, in a relay.

4 years ago

Would not surprise me one bit that Mizzou girls sneak in the top 8. GO TIGERS!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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